Dec 112010

I try to be a nice guy, and I think most of the time I come pretty close. But there are times when I just have to be a jerk. Or at least some people think that I’m being a jerk.

It has happened a couple of times in the last few days.

I got an e-mail from a lady who purchased our RVers Guide To Fairgrounds Camping a while back, and was upset because one of the fairgrounds had raised their rates and we didn’t have the new rate listed. She wanted to know what kind of satisfaction I was going to offer her.

I replied that while we are constantly updating our guides, it would be impossible for us visit each and every place on a repeated basis to check on any changes. But we do send out inquiries twice a year asking for any changes. If they don’t give us updated information, we can’t reflect those changes.  We have a disclaimer in the first page of the guide that we are not responsible for changes in site fees, availability, or access. I also asked her what “satisfaction “ she expected on a $7.50 guide that still lists fairgrounds with RV camping sites in states from border to border.  

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I got a second complaint on the same fairgrounds guide, this time because a gentleman stopped at a fairgrounds in Wisconsin to spend the night, and they told him that their RV sites were closed for the season and the water was turned off. He told me he expected us to not only refund his money, but also to pay him for his night at a campground he did eventually find open. Well, that’s just not going to happen. I did mention that it was Wisconsin, in December, right?

Back in August, just before our rally in Elkhart, Indiana, a vendor came by Elkhart Campground while Terry and I were laying out the vendor sales area, and demanded that we move him because he was too close to another vendor selling a similar product. We agreed to do so, and spent some time shuffling vendor spaces to make him happy.

A few minutes later I got a call from the campground’s owner because he was in the office making demands on who would be parked near him. So I had to stop what I was doing to go put that fire out, and to apologize to the campground’s owner for his rude behavior.

Then, a day before the rally started, he called me to say that he could not attend the rally because his wife had a medical emergency that required a trip back to California. He also said that his expected merchandise had not arrived, and asked for a refund, even though we don’t give refunds on last minute booth cancellations. But because of the emergency, I told him that we would refund his vendor fees, to help cover the cost of their unexpected trip back to California. Even though we had been turning away vendors because we were full, which meant we would lose money.

However, once the rally had started, this same vendor came through the campground, putting fliers on all of the RVs, advertising his products, which of course ticked off the dealers who had paid for their vendor sites. So obviously, he did not have to go back to California for a medical emergency, and he did have merchandise if he was distributing fliers trying to sell it.

I called him about it, and told him I didn’t appreciate that, and that if he wanted to sell his stuff at our rally, he needed to come and set up the booth he had reserved. He hemmed and hawed, but never came back.

So he didn’t get his refund, and yesterday he e-mailed me wanting to know why. I told him why, and that he would not be attending any of our future rallies either. I’m a pretty easygoing guy, and I believe in doing what I can to accommodate my customers.

But sometimes I have to draw a line. I don’t like being lied to, and I don’t like being taken for a fool. That’s when the jerk in me comes out.

Thought For The Day – You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  24 Responses to “Sometimes I Have To Be A Jerk”

  1. You’ve got it backwards — you were dealing with the jerks.

  2. I don’t see any of that as being a jerk. The jerks are the people with unrealistic expectations.

  3. I am a vendor at craft shows and have been for the last 10 years. I have never heard of any show or event giving a refund to a vendor who cancels at the last minute. And then to come to the campground and pass out his flyers is just unthinkable.

  4. What Judy said. I find it appalling that people think that rules/guidelines/norms — whatever you want to call them — are made for everyone BUT them. I see it regularly in dealing with parents of “problem” kids at school. It’s apparent that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree most of the time.

    I think you were more than gracious with the way you handled these people, Nick. I’d have told them to get over their big, bad selves and deal with it — especially that vendor who downright lied to you. Shame on him!

  5. Sounds to me like that vendor would have ben a problem whether he stayed or left Nick. He obviously has no integrity or honor and I wouldn’t even have given him the courtesy of a reply.

  6. I tend to agree with everyone else. I’m not seeing where you’re being the jerk. Maybe THEY think you’re a jerk. What I do see is a businessman going above and beyond FOR JERKS. Don’t sell yourself short, Nick.

  7. Nick
    You have way more patience than I would have had. I would also have mentioned who the vender was and what his products where. Therefore, as not to buy from this smuck at any other Rally he may be at. That is not to say I might not buy what ever he was selling from another more reputable vender. As for the other two idiots what can one say there are way to many of them out there.

  8. Nick –

    I consider myself a pretty easy going person until dealing with those types of people. But CoolJudy nailed it on the head – you were not the jerk, they were the jerks. I’ve also lived in Wisconsin so that situation actually made me laugh. Ya know – don’t stress over these people cuz it’s just not worth it.

    Thanks for sharing.


  9. In the interest of transparency, I agree with Karl…you are always specific when you have struggles with other businesses…why are you protecting this one?

  10. Nick, I’m still waiting for the part of the post that explains where YOU were being a jerk…can’t find it anywhere…

  11. Re those two complaints on the fairgrounds guide….I wonder if Trailer Life and Woodalls have to go thru the same heartburn or are you perceived an easy target because you’re a small business? I agree w/the others – you certainly aren’t the one behaving like a jerk.


  12. Nick,

    I am waiting for the rest of the story…….. the name of he guy and product sold by the true jerk. That way I can be sure never to patronize him. You are being way too kind by not revealing to the rest of us who this idiot is.

  13. We are in agreement with everyone wanting to know who that vendor was to avoid giving business his way. Could you put it on Bad Nick’s Blog since that’s your alter ego?

  14. Expecting people to be true to their word is not being a jerk. I think you try ed to be good to him and he totally took advantage of you. He is the jerk

  15. To those who want the jerk’s name, if Nick were to post the knothead’s name you can be sure the knothead would try to sue the socks off Nick and Terry both. And it is just not worth the time and money involved to defend against such actions. Most folks with their internal “yaahoo” radar can pick these sorts out a mile off. Just take the advice of the “radar” and steer clear of them. Nick handled it just right.

  16. They live among us and it’s not you Nick!!!!!!!!

  17. I was at the rally in Elkhart and was home when the guy stuck his flyer on my RV. I know him and I know that the above poster was right in saying this is the kind of guy who would try to sue if his name was posted. Its better to listen to that radar Don talked about. If you are at a vendor’s table and instead of telling you how good his product is, he is busy telling you how bad another vendor’s products are, just walk away.

  18. We want to make a positive comment for the blog. We just had our repair work done at Central Valley RV Repair in Fresno, CA, and they were perfect. Did everything in a timely fashion (including getting the parts in advance) and at a reasonable price. We chose them over Paul Evert’s because of the negative reviews on the website. Nick, we had to involve Foremost and Progressive insurance so time will tell how much our premiums go up. Not pessimistic, just realistic. See you in Yuma.
    We, too, have your fairgrounds guide but I use it so infrequently I don’t know where it is in the camper. We stay at a fair number of fairgrounds just by following the signs on the highways and only expect a parking space so we are frequently surprised.

  19. The type that pushes their way and lies about things for their benefit are too often getting what they want. They found out that a certain percentage of the time they succeed. The problem is, the more they get, the more they act up. I’m glad Nick did not send him a refund. This man has no values to live by. What a jerk HE is. (hoping he is a reader of this blog site).

  20. Would like to echo the accolades for Central Valley RV Repair. As many of you know Fresno is our home base and we have always relied on Gary and Mark at Central Valley for advise as well as repair and parts. They are beyond honest and go the extra mile in your interest and stand behind their work……..tom

  21. “If you are at a vendor’s table and instead of telling you how good his product is, he is busy telling you how bad another vendor’s products are, just walk away.”

    I did that but had to drag Dave with me. Dave still wanted to buy what the guy was selling. But, when the vendor told me I was stupid for not agreeing with what he was saying I was DONE. Anything can be purchased somewhere else.

  22. Sometimes you just cant help “STUPID” or as I like to say they are ID ten T’s.

  23. Ditto what everyone else said about who the REAL jerk is. The change in price happens to us all the time with Passport America, big deal, we cope with it.

  24. Just my 2 cents, I have delt with the public in my previous life and the amount of Jerks never ceases to amaze me! Your not the Jerk these people are your dealing with are the Jerks. Worse yet they are trying to get something for nothing DEMS what you call BUMS!
    I guess I still carry a little anger about having to deal them bums for so long! I think I will go out and hug my RV and get over the residual anger. One thing I enjoy about living in an RV is that when I get fed up with the BUMS and JERKS I can head down the road and leave ’em behind…..

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